Simple Staining- Principle, Procedure and Result Interpretation


Simple staining is a technique that allows microbiologists to observe the basic shape and arrangement of bacterial cells. It is one of the most common and easy methods to prepare bacterial smears for microscopic examination. The objectives of simple staining are:

  • To perform a simple staining procedure using a single reagent that produces a contrast between the bacterial cells and the background.
  • To compare the morphological shapes and arrangements of different bacterial cells under the microscope.

By performing a simple staining procedure, you can learn how to prepare a bacterial smear, how to apply a stain, how to wash and dry a slide, and how to use a microscope. You can also observe some of the diversity of bacterial forms and patterns, such as cocci (spherical), bacilli (rod-shaped), spirilla (spiral-shaped), diplo- (pairs), strepto- (chains), staphylo- (clusters), and palisade (side-by-side).

Simple staining can help you identify some basic characteristics of bacteria, but it cannot differentiate between different types of bacteria based on their cell wall structure or metabolic properties. For that purpose, you need to use more advanced techniques, such as differential staining or biochemical tests.